Didi sets up autonomous driving subsidiary

The competition to develop driverless cars is fast and furious.

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Chinese ride-hailing firm Didi Chuxing has set up its own subsidiary in the autonomous driving industry, according to the daily newspaper Beijing Business Today, which cited corporate registration information.

Didi is among the many companies, which includes major internet companies and automakers, that are racing to develop the software and hardware that will make driverless rides a reality.

Last December, Volkswagen and Didi had already entered a joint venture to develop self-driving cars. Beijing Youth Daily reported that Didi holds a 60% stake in that joint venture, which is located in Shanghai’s Jiading district.

Didi declined to comment on the new subsidiary when contacted by KrAsia.

Last year, when interviewed by CNBC, Henry Liu, the vice president and chief scientist for Didi Smart Transportation Initiatives, revealed that Didi now has 40 autonomous vehicles and has secured testing licenses in California and Beijing. He said that Didi can utilise its vast transportation network to determine where it is suitable to send an autonomous vehicle or a human-driven vehicle to pick up users who have hailed a ride.

Liu also highlighted the company’s status as a company that exists at the intersection of the mobile internet, artificial intelligence, and transportation, showcasing its responsibility to develop autonomous vehicle technologies in a safe and efficient manner.